Get Familiar with Your Transferable Skills
A huge shift in career focus can, in many cases, mean starting over from the very basics. But, that is where your soft skills and hard skills need to be examined. Whilst working in any role, you will have gained skills that can be utilised within a variety of different occupations.
The majority of transferable skills are those known as ‘soft skills’. Despite the name, these are skills you will most definitely have mentioned on your resume at some point – but do you really give them the attention they deserve?
Transferable skills could well be the key to unlocking a completely new career. This is not simply a way to paper over the fact you have no direct experience in your new chosen industry, but rather an increasingly valuable set of skills that employers place great value upon.
Understand the Strategic Importance of Your Transferable Skills
Skills such as communication, administration, and time-management are often the fundamentals desired around almost any role, any industry.
The assumption that industries other than those you have trained for and worked within are closed to you is simply not true anymore. Over 60% of employers place an equal or greater value on transferable skills. But what are they? They are the intangible capabilities related to your attitude, your work ethic, and your ability to handle pressure and changing priorities.
Employers are actively looking to discern the individual behind the resume – to weed out the attributes that enable you to interact effectively and harmoniously with your colleagues and across inter-disciplinary barriers. Also, your problem-solving skills, your ability to de-escalate conflicts, how well you rely on your initiative, your flexibility and adaptability, your ability to be self-reflective, and your overall analytical and qualitative skills – these are all crucial characteristics that will go far in helping your employer make a valued decision about adding you to the interview shortlist.
And likewise, never criticise a former boss or company. Even if the interviewer invites you to, do not; it is a trap to see if you will do so and you may as well leave right here and then – if you can bad-mouth your existing company, you could just as easily do it to them down the line, so beware.
Have a think about the following;
- Do you communicate better through verbal conversation or written emails and memos?
- Can you effectively share decision-making, workload, and credit with others on team-based projects? Or are you more effective working independently in a role such as a field service technician or a machine operator?
- When you interact with co-workers, are you good at listening, picking up on non-verbal social cues, or avoiding or defusing awkward situations?
- Can you effectively analyse a problem and find a way to fix it? Can you identify potential problems and head them off?
- Are you more of a “big picture” thinker, or someone who sees every last detail?
- Do you thrive in an intensely stressful environment such as mining or nursing?
By analysing your responses, you will see that your answers are applicable across a huge range of industries, not just your current one.
Applying Them to a New Career
Once you have identified the field or fields you want to move into, take a look at job descriptions or industry descriptions that provide details about common skills and experiences professionals typically have or need. Make a list of the needed skills, organising them in a way that makes sense to you and is easily comparable with your list of skills. Once you have this list, you have to apply them in a way that gets you noticed.
The cover letter is a great vehicle to show off your transferable skills, but at the end of the day, as long as they are shared with the employer at interview stage, that is what matters. Just be mindful of having examples of how you have used these skills, as well as how you would apply them to the new career.
At Select Resumes we have helped hundreds of clients who have decided for a multitude of reasons to transition from one career to another. It is far more common than you may imagine and carries absolutely no stigma. On the contrary, what we have found is that it enables the candidate to be much more articulate about the core skills that employers actually want to see – the transferable skills of communication, attitude, work ethic, adaptability, problem-solving and working well under pressure that many candidates often overlook.
A career-transitioning cover letter and resume will be as compelling and persuasive as any standard document – perhaps even more so. To find out more about how you can successfully transition into to new and fulfilling career, contact Select Resumes today for an informal chat.